Dispatches from the Senate GOP retreat: Emptying jails, appealing to millenials

Senate State and Local Government Chairman Ken Yager (R-Kingston), left) and Sen. Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville), attend a hearing on open records exemptions in Nashville on Jan. 30, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Tennessean‘s Joel Ebert trekked out to Crossville to catch up with a gathering of the state Senate Republican Caucus. Members got an update from their campaign consultant, Facebook, state Attorney General Herbert Slatery, and Gov. Bill Lee.

Lee said Republicans need to change “the way we’ve been doing things forever” as it relates to criminal justice in the state. He said he was hopeful for an overhaul.

“Because of y’alls leadership, I think we’re going to get criminal justice reform,” he said, adding: “We can empty our jails in the same way that some other states have done. I know we can do that.”

Political consultant Bonnie Brezina said of the 15 GOP incumbents on the ballot, the toughest race will likely be the re-election campaign of Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville).

I think we need to spend as much as we can to make sure Dickerson stays put,” she said.

Attracting new voters is a major challenge, she said.

“Millennials these days, I mean it’s tough,” she said.  “Changing their mind is just a tough thing to do right now.”

According to the Pew Research Center, the millennial generation refers to anyone born between 1981 and 1996, or those between the ages of 23 and 38 in 2019.

Read Ebert’s full account here.

38 Responses to Dispatches from the Senate GOP retreat: Emptying jails, appealing to millenials

  • James White says:

    They are in Jail for a reason. Keep them there.

    • Lenny says:

      Racism being the reason.

      • James White says:

        No, they Broke the Law. Don’t like it? Change the law.

      • Susan says:

        More likely the reason is poverty and inability to post bail which leads to a cascade of problems starting with loosing your job when you can’t show up.

        I’m not sure people commenting here are all understanding the difference between “jail” and “prison.”

        • Donna Locke says:

          Susan, I know the difference between jail and prison. My sister’s murderer was in jail for a year before being convicted and sentenced to prison. While he was in jail, he hurt no one else. While he has been in prison, he has killed no one else. My sister was the second gay person he had targeted, and he has never shown any remorse. He was sentenced to life — this was before the life-without-parole option — and at his most recent parole hearing, I was told to “prepare” because he will eventually get out.

          There are inmates who should not be in jail, but taking the lax view and action to reduce jail numbers gets innocent people killed. My sister would be alive if her killer had been kept in jail the first time he tried to beat someone to death. He got off light.

  • MARLE says:

    If Dickerson, the champion of marijuana legalization, can’t win in Nashville something is wrong. Add emptying out the jails and I predict a solid Republican victory. Republicans will twist themselves into a pretzel to get elected.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Dickerson is the most liberal Republican in the Senate with a miserable American Conservative Union rating of only 73%. “Republicans” won’t necessarily “…twist themselves into a pretzel to get elected” but centrist/tepid conservative Republicans certainly will. For those who live in communities where that is the only type of Republican that can be elected I have a suggestion, MOVE!

      • Lenny says:

        Is Bill Lee a tepid centrist now?

        • Lance Persson says:

          Not at all. Our governor is a conservative who uses facts and common sense when addressing a problem. Putting people in jails for non-violent crimes doesn’t make a lot of sense. It puts a financial burden on our counties and mixes the non-violent offenders with the violent offenders who are likely to have a negative influence on those who have been non-violent history.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            On the contrary, embezzlers, fraudsters, burglars who ruin people’s lives need jail time too! Perhaps not as long as violent criminals, but enough so that their lives are diminished enough in order to punish as a matter of justice and deter those who may be think non-violent crime is a great way to earn a buck.

            You may, however, be on to something about mixing different type of criminals. Perhaps we need more jails in order to segregate different types of criminals. As to cost, taking those who prey upon others violently and non-violently off the street is one of the fundamental functions of government and one of the few in regard to which I say damn the cost – get it done!

          • Beatrice Shaw says:

            Lee is NOT a conservative. Centrist opportunist, maybe….but Not a conservative. He even picks and chooses opportunities to adhere to Christianity…gambling, death penalty, etc.

        • Susan says:

          Only if you don’t realize that this type of judicial reform is being lead by red legislators in red states. Is Texas a tepid centrist state?

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Getting more “tepid” all the time I’m afraid – open borders is killing Texas and eventually it will kill the entire country. “Judicial reform” should be pursued VERY carefully and the General Assembly must take the lead rather than Governor Dilettante.

      • MARLE says:

        They already have done that as they raised the deficit and debt while passing the most loophole ridden code EVER that favors corporations and the wealthy (not the barely wealthy with net worth below 10M, but the WEALTHY).

    • John says:

      Something is wrong if Dickerson loses in one of the most Republican districts in the state. It will show the clear divide between Republicans of means and Republicans in despair.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        John, as I recall Dickerson just about eeked out a victory in the past and he is on the endangered species list for the future. Perhaps you mean “one of the most Republican districts in DAVIDSON COUNTY.” In that case, you may be right, but then again, we are talking about Davidson County. BTW, the only reason there are Republicans in despair is after they learn about the apparent success the liberal’s have had in taking over our government schools and convincing the millennials of nonsense that will surely make it very hard for this nation to meet the test of survival in the future.

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    The Governor wants to empty our jails and the liberals want to join him in emptying our jails AND take our guns away. The future’s so bright, has anyone seen my shades?

    • Lenny says:

      This is evidence of why you’re dumber than Bubba “Gump” Lee. Bill Lee is taking your guns away? No. Don’t be so f’ing stupid. If your precious Heritage Foundation is going to survive the future, they need people of color to support them. Anyone in jail for a modern day Jim Crow offense should be released. Even the Evangelicals you proudly despise, but support your party anyway, know this.

    • MARLE says:

      As I recall all this restorative justice stuff has not exactly been pushed back against by Trump and his partner in crime Kim Kardashian of all people. Isn’t he running around bragging about it on the trail?

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Another toxic presence in Trump’s inner circle is his daughter/girl friend Ivanka and her horrible husband Jared. That is the trouble with electing No Record Candidates who have no record because they have no ideology (e.g. Bill Lee, Chairman Manny) they agree with the last convincing individual they speak to.

        • MARLE says:

          You’re sort of forgetting to add another admirer of Trump and that is lap dog Marsha Marsha.

          And congrats, Stuart, on getting the whole Trump nepotistic clan properly defined. Can’t wait til Jared gets peace in the Middle East….and they say Hunter Biden was unqualified for HIS job!

  • It’s not enough for criminal justice reform, but a fresh look at judicial reform, increased transparency that’s needed. Judges are abusing their Oaths, ignoring the law and leaving out “material facts” in order to “justify” their Opinions. The “deceit” is bringing FRAUD UPON THE COURT by those to whom we have entrusted the most. It must stop!

    • Lenny says:

      Judges and District Attorneys need reformed. The Bill of Rights are mostly for the criminal defendents in this country. Increase funding for public defenders, not DAs. It’s the American way.

  • Donna Locke says:

    Hey, we too can be like Atlanta and have to be armed to go to a gas station. That’s what the Atlanta cops advise.

    And Steve Dickerson? More liberal than a conservative Democrat and sued by prosecutors for allegedly defrauding taxpayers out of millions of dollars. What’s not to love?

    The Republicans are lost in space.

    • Donna Locke says:

      Also, if they’re worried about millennials, they’d better brace. The generation coming after the millennials is even more . . . millennial. I have four of them around me, the oldest 16.

  • LeeAnn C. says:

    It’s impossible to evaluate the discussion based on this tiny bit of information (re: ’emptying the jails’). Visit with your local jail administrator. Ours is busting at the seams with a majority of repeat offenders relating to drugs. Effective criminal justice reform includes rerouting drug addicts to effective recovery programs and rehabilitation. Those addicts in jail are not becoming responsible citizens while incarcerated. Unless we want to spend $$$$$$$ on increasing jail and prison capacity, we’ve got to address the root of the problem! Dig in to this issue. There just might be a better way than sending these offenders in and out through a revolving door to the jailhouse – at a huge cost to taxpayers!

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I’m all for “. . .effective recovery programs and rehabilitation” but given the recidivism rate there doesn’t seem to be a overabundance of those things. There are many roots of the problem, our open borders is a big fat root but so long as the Democrats and their enabling voters are primarily interested in votes and the Chamber of Commerce Republicans are primarily interested in cheap labor that’s a root that simply refuses to die. Oh, and so long as we have open borders that allows other country’s criminals to pour over the border I wouldn’t plan on closing any jails in the future even if you find “. . .effective recovery programs and rehabilitation.”

      • MARLE says:

        Maybe, Stuart, you should share your concern about open borders with Marsha who ran on deporting only those who had committed a crime other than illegal entry. Talk about a Magnet for regarding the border as being “Open”! And don’t quote me her Heritage score,,,,,,please.

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          OK, I won’t but suffice it to say unfortunately it is not 100% or even 90%. . it’s exactly what you would expect it to be because the staff at Heritage Action know what they are doing and what they are doing is carefully recording the times Marsha gets it wrong as well as right.

          • MARLE says:

            Heritage is not what it used to be. Jim Demint, sad to say because I like him in his lower taxes/lower debt days, took it in a very political direction. It needs to return to its roots.

  • Lance Persson says:

    It sure sounds to me like so many people post negative comments must be sitting in from of their TV watching those misleading media reports and not spending time thinking before posting. Folks seem to complain about the fake news put out by the media but then seem to accept it rather than look for the “rest of the story”. Our governor, Bill Lee, does not want or plan to “empty” our jails but he is looking for a solution to reduce the number of non-violent offenders in jail and still keep our citizens safe.

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